Eliminating Stinkbugs in Your Garden

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Lawn & Garden

Stinkbugs are most active in gardens during the spring and fall seasons. They prefer fruits, honeydew, tomatoes, corn, squash, beans, peppers, and cabbage. If you spot stinkbugs on your plants, you can attempt to eradicate them using the following methods:

  • Use an insecticide in your garden or hire a licensed exterminator to apply insecticides that contain a synthetic pyrethroid. However, the effects of the insecticide likely won’t last more than a week because sunlight breaks it down. Pyrethrins are moderately hazardous to mammals.
  • Attract stinkbug predators to your garden by planting dill, parsley, sweet clover, or small flowering plants. Predators include tachinid flies, parasitic wasps, birds, assassin bugs, spiders, and other arthropods.
  • Apply nicotine water to the stinkbugs by shredding 10 to 12 cigarettes in a half-gallon of water, adding a strong-smelling powdered detergent, and spraying the solution.
  • Kill the stinkbugs by spraying them with soapy water (50% water, 50% liquid detergent).

However, avoid stomping, crushing, or squashing stink bugs because it creates a foul odor and generates a pheromone that attracts additional infestations.

To prevent a stinkbug infestation, control weeds, darken your garden at night, and scatter kaolin clay or spray a kaolinite solution on your plants.


1. What are stinkbugs and why are they a problem in the garden?

Stinkbugs are insects that belong to the family Pentatomidae. They are known for their shield-shaped body and distinct odor, which they emit when threatened or crushed. In the garden, stinkbugs can be a problem because they feed on a variety of plants, causing damage to leaves, fruits, and vegetables. In addition, they are difficult to control because they have a tough exoskeleton that protects them from pesticides and other control methods.

2. What are some signs that stinkbugs are present in my garden?

The most obvious sign that stinkbugs are present in your garden is the damage they cause to plants. Look for wilting, yellowing, or distorted leaves, as well as holes in fruits and vegetables. You may also notice the stinkbugs themselves, which can vary in color from brown to green and may have markings on their bodies. Another sign is the distinct odor they emit when threatened or crushed.

3. What are some non-chemical methods for controlling stinkbugs?

There are several non-chemical methods for controlling stinkbugs in the garden. One is to use physical barriers, such as row covers or mesh netting, to prevent the insects from reaching your plants. Another is to attract natural predators, such as birds or beneficial insects like assassin bugs or praying mantises. You can also hand-pick stinkbugs and drop them into a bucket of soapy water, or vacuum them up using a handheld vacuum cleaner.

4. What are some chemical methods for controlling stinkbugs?

If non-chemical methods are not effective, you may need to use chemical methods for controlling stinkbugs. Look for insecticides that are labeled for use on stinkbugs and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Some common active ingredients in stinkbug insecticides include pyrethroids, neonicotinoids, and insecticidal soaps. Be sure to wear protective clothing and use caution when applying insecticides, and always follow the recommended waiting period before harvesting any fruits or vegetables.

5. Are there any natural remedies for controlling stinkbugs?

There are several natural remedies for controlling stinkbugs in the garden. One is to make a solution of hot peppers, garlic, and water and spray it on the affected plants. Another is to use a solution of dish soap and water, which can suffocate the insects. You can also try spraying plants with a solution of neem oil, which is derived from the neem tree and has insecticidal properties. However, keep in mind that natural remedies may not be as effective as chemical methods and may need to be applied more frequently.

6. Can stinkbugs be harmful to humans?

While stinkbugs are not harmful to humans, they can be a nuisance because of the odor they emit when threatened or crushed. In addition, some people may experience an allergic reaction if they come into contact with stinkbug secretions. If you need to handle stinkbugs, wear gloves and avoid crushing them to minimize the odor.

7. How can I prevent stinkbugs from returning to my garden?

Preventing stinkbugs from returning to your garden requires a combination of methods. One is to maintain good garden hygiene by removing plant debris and weeds, which can provide hiding places for the insects. Another is to rotate your crops each year, which can help to disrupt the stinkbugs’ life cycle. You can also use companion planting, which involves planting certain plants together that repel stinkbugs, such as marigolds or catnip.

8. When is the best time to control stinkbugs in the garden?

The best time to control stinkbugs in the garden is in the early morning or late evening, when they are less active. This is also when they are more likely to be clustered together, making it easier to target them with control methods. It’s important to start controlling stinkbugs as soon as you notice them in your garden, as they can quickly multiply and cause significant damage to your plants.

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